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Archive for October, 2007

Kid Nation: Whiny “gimme-the-gold-star” bore

kidnationI admit it. I miss the pint-sized brat. Taylor, the obnoxious and loud-mouth beauty queen, was relegated to a 15-second sound bite in Wednesday’s episode of “Kid Nation,” and frankly, the remaining 59 minutes and 45 seconds was a major snooze fest. Even when the show tries to drum up suspense — oh, the kids are in a scary mine; oh, look they found a secret chest (as the grown-up written pioneer book hinted they would); oh, it’s full of money — the episode simply falls flatter than 3-day-old soda.

But in the end, it’s the gold star that had me grimacing this week. This one reminded me of a political race — a whole lot of smoke, not a lot of substance.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
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Fake Halloween teeth recalled for lead paint

teethNow that’s frightening. If your child was planning to wear fake “ugly teeth” as part of his Halloween costume, get them out of his mouth now. Amscan just recalled 43,000 sets of fake Halloween teeth (marketed under the labels “Ugly Teeth,” “Amscan,” “Party Favors” and “Value Pack Party Favors”) for lead paint.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
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Kid playing with matches started LA wildfire

matchesSeems one of the dozen wildfires plaguing Southerm California last week was started by a kid playing with matches in his backyard. Fanned by high winds, the blaze ultimately consumed 38,000 acres and burned down 21 homes, although ironically, it spared the boy’s home. Police have turned the matter over to the district attorney, and the child, a boy under age 13, has been released to his parents. We’re trying to imagine the conversations going on under that roof. What would you do if your kid did something like that?
- Jackie Burrell

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
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MISS SCHOOL MANNERS & Helicopter Parents

teacherDear Miss School Manners: The college application paper chase has only just begun and already, I’m losing my mind. I want to make absolutely sure that my kid gets it all done … but if he can’t get it together to do college apps on his own, how will he survive college? And when does “helping” turn into “helicoptering”? Signed, Panicked in the East Bay

Dear Panicked: We’re relieved to say that very few college students have to navigate IRS-worthy volumes of paperwork, high-stakes exams, and half a dozen different life-altering essays all at once. Not till grad school applications roll around, anyway. So helping him organize those papers and deadlines? Good. Writing his essays and hounding him about your alma mater? Not good.
(Read more or write to Miss School Manners now)

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
Under: College Apps & Angst, Miss School Manners | No Comments »

Staph session, take two

GermsHere’s our Halloween prediction : somewhere in those hordes of trick-or-treaters, there’s bound to be someone dressed as a staph infection – and if you could snap a photo and send it to us, we’d be much obliged. We’re running out of non-gross artwork to adorn these updates.

OK, folks, it’s true. The number of confirmed, drug-resistant staph infections is rising in local schools. Now we’ve got three Pleasant Hill students diagnosed with MRSA – a 6th and 8th grader at Sequoia Middle School and a 2nd grader at Sequoia Elementary.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
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Five jaw-dropping kids’ costumes

Is it just me, or are some Halloween costumes for kids and tweens pushing the limits of decency? Check out five that had our eyes popping and tell us what you think. Have you seen worse? Do you have pics? If so, share your thoughts in our comment section and send a link to the photos so we can add them to the blog.
toilet1. Maybe this is suitable punishment for a potty-mouth child, but imagine if his name is John.

cop2. Fishnet stockings, short hemline, handcuffs — is she going for the underage stripper look?

whoopebaby3. Oh the humiliation of one day having to answer the question: “And what was your first Halloween costume?”

sumo4. Political incorrectness aside, this costume screams giant heated marshmallow gone bad.

sexyred25. The name on this costume designed for tweens? “Sexy Little Red Riding Hood.” Enough said.

Ann Tatko-Peterson

To see photos of readers’ picks for Jaw-Dropping Costumes, click below.

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Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
Under: Kids & Tweens | No Comments »

Kit-Kats, Snickers & Childhood Obesity

Halloween ILLUS.jpg
In this morning’s Times, Sara Steffens writes that the average American will consume 26 lbs. of candy this year, the majority via trick-or-treat bags – at a time when childhood obesity rates have more than doubled and teen rates tripled (National Center for Health). Obviously, it’s not just the Snickers. Fast food and junk snacks are undermining our children’s (and our) health too. Now Contra Costa County supervisor John Gioia is leading a campaign for a more healthful Halloween by giving out stickers, small toys and school supplies to balance out some of that sugar. Check out the story, then take the poll. Or share your thoughts here by clicking “comments.”
- Jackie Burrell

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Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
Under: Health & Safety | No Comments »

More Bad Parent

This time from the East Bay:

Fremont mother charged after ordering daughter to fight

Brawl between 13-year-old girls caught on video

FREMONT — A videotaped brawl between two 13-year-old girls has led to a mother being charged with four felonies after she directed her daughter to fight and later twice kicked her offspring’s nemesis, authorities said.
Full story

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Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007
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Bad Parent 101

duiHow does this even happen? The Ann Arbor News reports that a Michigan man was arrested for drunk driving after he ran a red light and then blew a .11 on the breathalyzer – with his 12-year-old son in the car. When the cops told the kid to call his mother to come get him, mom arrived with 9-year-old daughter in tow. And mom was drunk too.
- Jackie Burrell

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Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007
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Toddlers, teens, chores and more

Brainy kid ILLUS.jpgThis month’s parent education nights range from breastfeeding to college angst.

Living with Ones and Twos
Nov. 1 at 7 p.m., Bananas in Oakland
Speaker: Meg Zweiback, nurse practitioner. Sponsored by Bananas, childcare available for $5 per child. Call 510-658-7353 to register.

“Challenges of Parenting Adolescent and Adult Children: Friends or Foes?”
Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Moraga Library
Speaker: Dr. Joshua Coleman, author and parenting expert. Free.

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Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007
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